Last spring many questioned who would step forward for the Michigan State Spartans at running back after losing Jeremy Langford.
A year later Mark Dantonio knows he’s got a stable of backs and a few options to work with after a season that saw the Spartans have three young backs each rush for 500 or more yards.
So how does the Spartans running back depth chart breakdown this spring?
Gerald Holmes - 6-0, 220 lbs. Junior
2015: Holmes rushed 110 times for 540 net yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 4.9 yards per rushing attempt and only loss 10 yards. Started seven games last season.
Spring 2016: The junior gets top billing on the spring depth-chart but has the “OR” next to his name. Started to show the skill set to be a back the Spartans could count on as the season progressed and a strong spring could carry over into the No. 1 spot by the time August rolls around. A 4.8 yard per carry average and the fact he showed he can catch the ball out of the backfield gives the Spartans more options when he’s on the field. This should be his breakout spring.
L.J. Scott - 6-0, 238 lbs. Sophomore
2015: Scott become the darling of the media and fans and ended up being the Spartans leading rusher on 146 carries for 699 yards and 11 touchdowns. Only started one game last season.
Spring 2016: Much will be expected out of last seasons leading rusher from fans and the coaching staff. Does Scott grow his game or will he suffer a sophomore slump? Last season was only a small showing of his talents. Is Scott ready to bust out and take center stage and earn the No. 1 spot over the other backs? The tools are there now we’ll see if he spent his winter reading press clippings or grinding to be an elite player.
Madre London - 6-1, 220 lbs. Sophomore
2015: London suffered injuries but still rushed 119 times for 500 yards and three touchdowns. Started six games last season.
Spring 2016: Injuries hurt London from getting the number of reps many thought he’d have by the end of last season. Some in the Spartans program feel he’s got the complete package with power and speed. Others wonder if he can hold up to the pounding. This spring should shed some light on what fans should expect by the time the season begins.
Delton Williams - 6-1, 230 lbs. Senior
2015: Williams was held out for much of the season and only got 26 carries for 56 yards and one touchdown. Never started a game.
Spring 2016: Williams is back at full force without the worries of the off field issues that plagued him a year ago. Being listed as the No. 1 fullback was interesting when the depth chart was released. It will also be interesting to see how the coaching staff looks to use him at fullback. With the size and ability of a tailback, Williams would give the offense a unique skill set out of the fullback position it has not seen in some time.
THE REST OF THE NAMES
Drake Martinez: (6-2, 210 lbs. Junior) Moved to running back in 2016 after spending the 2015 season as a linebacker. Could be used as a fullback/h-back but it will be interesting to see how this spring project move works out. Is this a spring only look or a fulltime look into the future for Martinez?
Nick Tompkins: (5-9, 180 lbs. Senior) Stays at running back again in 2016 after spending the 2014 season on defense.
Collin Lucas: (6-0, 232 lbs. Sophomore) Walk-on back-up fullback.